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Credit & Charge Card Reviews (6): Flybe Mastercard

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This is my review of the Flybe Mastercard credit card.

It is part of my series of articles looking at the major UK loyalty credit cards and discussing whether or not they are worth applying for. These articles will be linked to the relevant sections of the ‘Credit Cards Update‘ page. My other UK airline and hotel credit card reviews can be found here.

Key link: Flybe Mastercard application form

Key facts: No annual fee

The representative APR is 18.9% variable.

About the card

The Flybe Mastercard is issued by Creation Financial Services, which also operates the IHG Rewards Club cards. Creation may not be a familiar name but it is owned by French bank BNP Paribas.

What is the sign-up bonus?

This has been the trickiest card to evaluate so far, to be honest. Flybe and its credit card loyalty scheme completely passes most of us by – but have we been making a massive mistake?!

The current offer is for one free return flight on any Flybe route to / from the UK. Taxes and other charges are still due – this is a key problem, as we will see.

Any other benefits?

A few, but nothing radical. 10% off Avis car rentals worldwide and some travel money benefits. Nothing you couldn’t beat elsewhere with a little research.

What is the annual fee?

There is no annual fee.

What do I earn per £1 spent on the card?

It’s not as simple as that. The Flybe credit card has a reward scheme called Spend&Fly. This is totally separate to the rewards you earn for flying with Flybe as they give Avios points to passengers. The ONLY way to earn Spend&Fly points is from the credit card.

What is a Flybe point worth?

The Spend&Fly scheme is outlined here. The rewards are:

  • £4,000 spend = 1 Just Fly or Get More return flight within the UK (Get More supplement applies)
  • £5,500 spend = 1 All In return flight within the UK
  • £6,000 spend = 1 Just Fly or Get More flight between UK and an EU member state (Get More supplement applies)
  • £7,500 spend = 1 All In return flight between UK and an EU member state

On the face of it, this compares well with the Avios scheme when looking at the spend required for a redemption flight.

Note that Flybe has baggage charges for Just Fly flights. A Get More flight gives you a 23kg baggage allowance, cabin baggage and reserved seating.

However ….

As a budget airline, taxes and charges make up a large percentage of the fare. I checked a random return trip from Manchester to Dusseldorf which had over £50 of taxes. The actual saving over a cash ticket is therefore much lower than you may expect.

Is this a good card to use when travelling?

As Creation adds a 3% foreign exchange fee, you might want to get a separate free credit card to use abroad. Unfortunately there are no travel rewards card without a foreign exchange fee.  One option is to get a free Curve Card – see this HfP article – and link it to a miles-earning Visa or Mastercard.

Other points to note

There is a nasty expiry policy on points earned from the credit card – they disappear 12 months after they are earned and cannot be extended. There are some other painful tweaks:

  • you cannot book one-way redemptions
  • date changes will cost £70 per ticket (ie £35 per sector)
  • reward flights are non-refundable

There is also this interesting comment on the website: “Discounted web fares may occasionally be available at a lower cost (including taxes & charges) than equivalent reward flights“. This means that you may end up being asked for £100 in ‘taxes and charges’ to book your redemption flight, whilst a cash ticket for the same flight is available for £80!

I have no idea how good or bad ‘free’ flight availability is with Flybe but feedback from Head for Points readers is that it is poor. It is different to the award availability offered to Avios customers via avios.com.

Conclusion

It is difficult to value the ‘free flight’ you receive for signing up to the card for the reasons I outline above. You will probably receive £30-£40 of net value after paying the taxes.

You are unlikely to get much value from the on-going earnings rate. Whilst free flights are relatively easy to achieve, the level of taxes that are still required means that the value you get is restricted. The nasty 1-year expiry policy on your spend points is also a negative. That said, if you regularly fly on a specific and expensive Flybe route then you may value the points more highly.

The application form for the Flybe Mastercard can be found here.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – September 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

50,000 points bonus until 2nd October – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (35)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Lumma says:

    I think this is the only rewards card that I’ve never seen in real life and I handle so many card payments at work.

    What I find really odd about applying for Creation cards is that I’m “eligible to apply” for this and the two IHG cards but not any of their other cards. There doesn’t seem to be any logic as why they won’t trust me with an Asda credit card for example

  • Mikeact says:

    This card? Total utter rubbish.

  • Sabby says:

    I have had one for a couple of years booked 4 flights from Birmingham to Amsterdam taxes £48 got the all in voucher for my teenagers they changed the date 3 times had no problems.
    Recently booked 6 tickets with voucher to Amsterdam during Easter next year we all got on the same flight bargain price of £48 each for Easter holiday couldn’t beat it from Birmingham

  • Chris L says:

    I’m a regular Flybe user and this got me thinking: is Flybe a ‘budget’ airline. Certainly, price-wise it’s hard to say as many of their routes have no direct competitor. How do we now define budget airlines? Correct, me if I’m wrong but here are the standard features and how they apply to Flybe:

    1. Budget carriers charge for extras such as food/drink and hold baggage
    Yes, but so do BA and many other ‘major’ carriers, particularly short haul

    2. Budget carriers serve ‘alternative’ airports – e.g. London Stansted, Milan Bergamo
    No, Flybe serve major airports – even LHR now unlike most budget carriers

    3. Budget carriers offer minimal legroom and typically ‘slimline’ seating
    Actually I think I’m more comfortable on a Flybe Embraer than one of the newer narrow body aircraft from one of the major carriers. The Dash 8 aren’t that comfortable, but they are typical of their type when compared to other airlines operating them.

    4. Budget airlines have low-cost operations with fast turnaround times
    No different from any other short haul operation nowadays?!

    5. Budget carriers don’t have business class
    True, but no different from many European carriers, though Flybe has the ‘All In’ fare which includes lounge access etc. There is no ‘priority’ boarding but there’s rarely any point as the aircraft are small.

    6. Budget carriers cater primarily to the price-sensitive leisure market
    Actually Flybe has high usage by business travellers and serves many business-focused routes, e.g. Birmingham – Dusseldorf, Manchester – Paris, London City – Exeter.

    Does the short haul budget vs full service paradigm still exist? I’m not so sure.

    • Chris L says:

      I guess the point I’m making is that Flybe should not be excused having a decent loyalty programme because ‘they’re a budget airline and budget airlines don’t have normal loyalty schemes’. Sounds like they’re trying to address this though.

  • David Ibbotson says:

    I earned 2 free flights a year ago, and despite trying really hard on the web and the call centre over several weeks I couldn’t find any flights. I didn’t place any restrictions I’m my selection not even countries of departure or arrival. So in my view I wasted £20k spending on the card when I could have collected Avios on my BA Amex.

  • Chris says:

    Hmm .. so spend £3,999 and get.. nothing?

    • Shoestring says:

      There’s probably a place for spend £250 & get a free return flight (+ fees) + 2x23kg checked bags, lounge access on both legs, fast pass security, free seat selection (at the front) and a free drink and snack on board. (as per Lewis above)

      As Lewis said, you can always cancel card after that. And as Shoestring says: then get one for the wife 🙂

  • Neil says:

    As a reasonably regular Flybe user, and Avios collector, I would love to see a like for like comparison of this and card that earn Avios for redemption on Flybe. Would this be possible? My impression is that this card compares very favourably with Avios-earning non-Amex options. However, I am struggling to get my head around all the factors involved in such a calculation.

  • Lady London says:

    “Discounted web fares may occasionally be available at a lower cost (including taxes & charges) than equivalent reward flights“. This means that you may end up being asked for £100 in ‘taxes and charges’ to book your redemption flight, whilst a cash ticket for the same flight is available for £80!

    Same with Lufthansa especially on short-haul within Europe. I thought Lufthansa was the only airline British Airways would envy the ability of to really take the p on outrageous “taxes”… but it seems in their own way flybe is doing it too.

    • Shoestring says:

      You would be a confident investor though – Flybe are ripping off the consumer on Loyalty so badly, it MUST be good for the bottom line.

      • Rob says:

        It probably isn’t. They are spending huge chunks of money on a loyalty infrastructure, including hiring the new guy from Avios, which isn’t delivering. If your loyalty scheme doesn’t deliver incremental business you’re better off without it.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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